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    Holocaust (2413 words) Essay

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    HolocaustWhat is Holocaust Denial and Why Does it Exhist? What is Holocaust denial andwhy does it exhist? This is far from being a simple question, as itneccessitates a background knowledge of what the holocaust really was and whythere would be efforts to deny that it ever happened. In my paper, I hope toexplain some of the horrific aspects of the holocaust and provide ample factsfor proof that this terrible ordeal happened, then attempt to understand whyholocaust denial came about in the first place. Attempting to prove that theholocaust never happened seems virtually impossible given the known exhistanceof concentration camps in Auschwitz, Belzec, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, andWesterbork, to name a few.

    In Martin Gilbert’s “Holocaust Journey”, aprofessor and a group of students visit many of these former concentrationcamps. In order to prove that the holocaust really did happen, first one mustunderstand why and how the holocaust came about. It is important to note thatthe roots of the holocaust began years before the holocaust actually took place. One possible theory as to why there was anti-semitism against the Jews is thescapegoat theory of prejudice. Because of the social and economical depressionsfacing Germany at the time, the people of the country were very susceptible to apowerful leader who promised to make them the superior race and who providedthem with a scapegoat as to why there is situation was so dismal. By paintingthe Jews as a penny-pinching, money-taking, elitist class that was causing allof Germany’s problems of the day, the people were easily led to believe thatthe Jews were the reason that they faced hunger, poverty and a poor economy.

    Oneweb site that I visited that had a chronological order of events that led to theholocaust was “Holocaust and Genocide Studies” at http://www. webster. edu/~woolflm/chronology. html. Some of the events that led to the holocaust that can be related to thescapegoat theory were the collapse of the Germany economy due to hyper-inflationand Hitler’s drafting of his anti-semetic views in Mein Keimf while he wasimprisoned in 1923 and the collapse of the Great Coalition in German governmentin 1929. The collapse of the economy and the government were linked to the Jewsbecause they were a convenient group to blame.

    The scapegoat theory fitsperfectly into the scenario of the holocaust and it is because of it that onecan understand why the common people supported the holocaust whether directly orindirectly. The support of the common people is absolutely essential to causedestrucution of this magnitude, and in order to obtain their support, a powerfulleader, such as Adolph Hitler must prove to them why the Jews are the cause ofall their problems. Through the use of propoganda and powerful speeches, Hitlerwas able to prove his point to the masses. In a time of extreme weakness inGermany, he was able to grab these helpless individuals and make them believethat the Jews were and inferior race and that only through their destrcutioncould the Germans once again become a powerful and great people. Now that wehave established a sound theory as to why the holocaust occured, it is now timeto provide evidence that it happened. For instance, there are a wealth ofpictures available that were taken at concentration camps that show the terribleconditions in which the Jews were forced to live and the horrific images of deadbodies piled up on top of one another like so many dead animals.

    There arepictures of the gas chambers, the mass graves, the human ovens. I was able toview a great many of these pictures at the web site “The Holocaust Project”at http://www. holocaust-history. org/hungarian-photos/. Among these photos werepictures of tight living areas, forced labor upon the prisoners, and multuplepictures of Jewish victims of the holocaust whether in concentration camps or inthere place of living.

    Among the more chilling pictures from the holocaust werethe victims of scientific testing done on these poor individuals and the massgraves that the Jews were dumped into following their deaths at theconcentration camps. Other pieces of evidenc that prove the holocaust’sexhistance and severity are the first-hand accounts delivered by individuals whosurvived the holocaust or people who witnessed it. One website that contains alink to the stories of holocaust survivors is “About. com” which can bereached at http://holocaust.

    about. com/education/holocaust/. Here is a breifexert of one of the first-hand accounts taken from the site: “In March, orApril, 1944, we got the dreaded notice that we had been selected forre-settlement further East. The train cars they took us in were actually cattlecars. . .

    there was not much room between us and the roof. . . the SS troops were onthe roofs of the cattle cars shooting past the windows to discourage people fromsticking their heads out. .

    . . ” The story goes on to tell of how they werestipped of all valuables and property by the Nazis and about the conditions inwhich they were forced to live. This survivor also describes daily life at thecamps and portrays the grotesque images of the dead being piled up like”. .

    . cordwood, naked, and without dignity. ” He also speaks of the massgassings and mass graves that holocaust deniers attempt to prove did not exhist. As it turns out, maybe because of mounting data and statistics to proveotherwise, the goal of holocaust denial is not to deny the exhistance of masscamps for the Jews, on the other hand, to belittle the horrible events thatoccured and to deny that such staggering numbers of deaths could not be possibleby means of gas chanmbers and such. From simply reading books such as”Holocaust Journey” written by Martin Gilbert, about the time he took hisclass on a tour of concentration camps, one has ample proof that the holocaustoccured and the camps exhisted. “Holocaust Journey” is more of a journalthan a novel and contains a day by day, often minute by minute account of thetrip he took with his students on a tour of some of the concentration camps.

    They also visited traditionally Jewish communities that dated back more than 500years. “Each of them was uprooted and destroyed in the course of those twoyears” (2). Gilbert provides some stories of people who perished among the 6million who died in the holocaust, perhaps in an attempt to create a human facein light of such staggering numbers that can often erase the human face of thisgenocide. He also tells the class (and the readers of course) about the numberof people taken from specific places to camps as they pass by or stop in them.

    Interestingly enough, we find out, on page 25, that roughly 70,000 Germans werekilled in an effort to weed out the weaklings and to make the Germans a superiorrace. “An estimated 10,000 German children under the age of sixteen weremurdered by gas in this way” (25). On page 42, they visit a cemetary forBerlin Jews who were murdered in the holocaust at the Heerstasse Jewish cemetary. This and many other cemetaries can provide only small images of the vast numberof Jews killed in the holocaust. On the very next page, they visited one of theplaces where the “final Solution” was discussed.

    Later on in the book, theyvisit the site of the concentration camp at Belzic. On the gate are inscriptionsthat contain statistics on the number of Jews from certain areas that werekilled there. The book also contains a picture taken in Belzic of where the massgraves were before the bodies were dug up, burned and the ashes were spread out,most likely in an effort to erase evidence of the magnitude of deaths thatoccured. I believe that “Holocaust Journey” is a good example of a workcontaining evidence that makes it impossible to altogether deny that theholocaust happened, but I also belive it to be a terrific example of how theHolocaust deniers are able to support their theories.

    For example, by callingthe genocide of millions of Jews “the final solution”, they do not directlysay that they are killing millions of Jews, so in effect, their language canmask their exact intentions. Also, the burning of bodies and spreading of ashesat Belzec is a great example of the Nazis erasing evidence to masks the horrificmagnitude of the holocaust. Because there is not a tremendous wealth of tangibleand direct evidence of the mass genocide as one might suspect, denying themagnitude of the holocaust is not as trying a task as it might seem. What isholocaust denial anyway? The Jewish Student Online Research Center at http://www.

    us-israel. org/jsource/Holocaust/denial. htmldescribes it as follows: “One of the most notable anti-semetic propogandamovements to develop over the last two decades had been the organized effort todeny or minimize the established history of Nazi genocide against the Jews. “The goal of holocaust deniers is not to deny that anti-semitism exhisted, but todeny that a mass organized killing program exhisted. Holocaust denial is alsoknown as holocaust “revisionism” and there are an abundance of sites on thenet that contain “revisionist” beliefs.

    Revisionism. Com atwww. revisionism. com is a web site that focuses on the belief that genocide didnot happen.

    It provides the site’s viewer with both audio and visual speecheson revisionism from people who support this theory such as Ernst Zundel andDavid Irving. Here is part of a speech by David Irving taken from the web site:”. . . eye witness reports, the only evidence that can be used against us. .

    . thedissident historians. I think they should be called “verbal testimony”or “oral statements” that is all they are, There is a subtledifference between “verbal statement” on one hand, and “eyewitness report” on the other. That’s how they do it. ” In other words,because of the lack of physical evidence of mass murders, holocaust deniers or”Revisionsists” can claim that the Jews were in internment camps similar tothat of the ones the United States placed the Japanese in during World War II. Here is a god example of the goal of holocaust deniers and what they believe in.

    This qoute was taken from “The Student Revisionist Resource Site” at http://www. wsu. edu/~lpauling/”:”Revisionists are, in fact, Holocaust DIMINISHERS, not deniers. They arequestioners about what they believe are significant exaggerations in theHolocaust tale, and they are critics of the view that somehow this historicalevent is beyond discussion on pain of being placed in the category ofchild-molester or worse, shunned by society, even fined and imprisoned by someso-called free countries in the western world. ” It goes on to say thatRevisionists do not deny that there were wrongs done to the Jews such as thewrongful stealing of property, brutality and many deaths due to disease in poorconditions, yet they look to diminish the terrible things that happened to theJews by pointing to other horrible aspects of World War II.

    They believe thatwhat happened to the Jews was just ONE of the terrible things that happened inthe war, and far from the worst. Here is a paragraph taken from the page thatbelittles what the Jews went through: “One needs merely mention Hiroshima,Nagasaki, the deadly carpet bombing of German and Japanese working class livingareas, the Soviet of Germany in their 1945 advance, the treatment of Germancivilians and German POW’s after the war. One could go on almost ad infinitum inthis recitation of atrocities. Fifty million – some say sixty million – died asa result of the war.

    Was there more criminal behavior on one side than theother?” By denying the mass killings of Jews and claiming they were victims ofpoor conditions at the concentration camps which came from a lack of materialsdue to the war costs, which in turn led to disease, holocaust deniers attempt tobelittle the terrible things that were done to the Jews by Nazi Germany beforeand after the war. They do however, take blame for persecuting and robbing theJews of their possessions, and in addmitting so much, they may come off as beinga group that is speaking the truth. Now that we have established what holocaustdenial, or “revisionism” is, we may now examine why holocaust denial cameabout in the first place. Well, one reason may be that due to the lack ofphysical evidence, it is easy for them to flat out deny that it happened. Butwhat are the gains from denying the holocaust? Denying the holocaust everhappened is a terrible injustice to the not only the millions who suffered andperished in the concentration camps, but the people close to them who sufferedalong with them.

    It is considered by many to be a new form of anti-semitism andone can only imagine the pain it causes to the families of holocaust victims andespecially the survivors. Imagine surviving this terrible ordeal and then havingsomeone belittle what happened to you, the grotesque things you witnessed, thegrim conditions, the hunger, the forced labor, the imminent threat of beingkilled alongside many others. This is why the force of holocaust denial is sostrong in terms of anti-semitism, and that is often the goal of hate-orientatedgroups, to find the best way to hurt a group of people. There are also otherbenefits of white supremacists in denying the holocaust. First and foremost, itis easier to gain support for their cause if they dont come off as the animalsthat they are made out to be. Being associated with what happened during theholocaust can turn away many potential followers who hate, but do notneccessarily condone violence and killings.

    Another paragraph taken from theStudent Revisionist Resource Site is yet another example of belittle the Nazitreatment of the Jews. It is as follows: “Contrary to Holocaust Mythologythere was no attempt by Nazis, or anyone else, to exterminate the Jews. Therewas an attempt, largely successful in the areas controlled by the Axis, to expelthe Jews from Europe. In the context of the 1990’s it was a terribleundertaking. In adifferent context, the context of European history over thelast two millennia, the expulsion of the Jews from this region or that regionwas not uncommon.

    Historically there seems to be something about the Jews thatbrings forth a plenitude of animosity on the part of people amongst whom theylive. ” By painting the Nazis as just another group trying to remove the Jewsfrom Europe, Revisionists can claim there is something about the Jews that makesthem undesirable and there is a reason that people dont want them around. Thishas another along with diminishing the crimes the nazis committed, it feeds intothe hatered of Jews as well and makes it seem that this type of hatred has ajust cause. Its as if they are saying that “if everybody else hates the Jews,what is so wrong with us hating them as well?”

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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